Jim Friedman


Hunting huge animals,
stickmen like burnt matches
run across a cave wall.

One hunter has fallen,
is left behind, limbs splayed,
drawn like a crossing out.

Nearby, figures surround
a fire as red as life
keeping darkness away.

What have they gathered for?
As survivors, perhaps,
to eat, later to howl

for that spread-eagled man,
X-ed like a treasure map
that tells them where death is?

Here’s his small requiem;
a torch held long enough
to picture him as dead,

his kin sharing a fire
while they felt what was left
of him burning in them.

Markings made out of soot,
manganese, some water,
a little of their blood.

Stickmen by Jim Friedman won Second Prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2019) judged by Oz Hardwick.

Jim Friedman lives in Beeston, Nottinghamshire and is a member of the Derby Stanza group. He taught English at Loughborough University with special interests in contemporary poetry and medieval studies. He had a second career as a relationship counsellor and supervisor with Relate. Since retiring he has started writing poetry again after a forty-year break.

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